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Light Meter Prices

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May 24, 2005 3:02:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

Why does the price of light meters vary so much?

Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
do) that the mid to low priced ones?

More about : light meter prices

May 24, 2005 3:02:43 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

On Mon, 23 May 2005 23:02:42 +0100, "Russell" <nospam@nospam.com>
wrote:

>Why does the price of light meters vary so much?
>
>Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
>do) that the mid to low priced ones?

Hi Russell,

Light meters come is several flavors, I'll take a crude attempt at
listing them feature wise in terms of ascending features/price. The
features are:

a) simple reflective light metering
b) incident light metering
c) flash metering
d) spot metering


Meters come in combinations of these features and you are likely to
find meters that are:

1) simple reflective meter
2) reflective meter with incident metering capability
3) flash metering in a reflective or incident or both mode
4) reflective meter with spot capability
5) reflective meter with spot capability and separate incident
metering mode

Add to that the ability to store one, two or multiple exposure
readings. Display those readings on a common scale. Add a feature to
"integrate" these multiple readings into a single readout, etc. and
the price escalates.

My personal favorite is a Sekonic 803BII, compact reflective, incident
meter with flash metering in either mode. I have a spot meter in my
camera the works very well for my limited spot metering usage - often
dominates when needed but the camera still provides this function for
me.

Hope this helps,
Regards,
Roger
Anonymous
May 24, 2005 3:02:44 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

> My personal favorite is a Sekonic 803BII, compact reflective, incident

don't freak me out i.e. no such thing as a Sekonic 803BII - well, I never heard
of such a thing!
Related resources
Anonymous
May 24, 2005 2:03:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

Russell wrote:

> Why does the price of light meters vary so much?
>
> Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
> do) that the mid to low priced ones?


What are your requirements? If you need ambient as well as flash; and
spot as well as incident metering, then the price will be a bit higher.

I had a Sekonic L508, and it was a wonderful flash. Foolishly I sold
it. Some months later I bought a less capable Minolta VF.

Two things I miss from the Sekonic:
1) It would automatically display exposure every time it detected a
flash firing. (With the VF, I have to depress the arming button every
time).

2) The Sekonic had a zoomable spot meter. This is no big use when I'm
using my Maxxum 9 (has spot meter), but when I rent MF cameras I'm
forced to use the Maxxum 9 as a a spot meter. The Sekonic would have
been perfect.

So, first determine your neeeds, then determine which models fill those
needs.

Cheers,
Alan

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Anonymous
May 24, 2005 3:12:13 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

Russell wrote:
>
> Why does the price of light meters vary so much?
>
> Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
> do) that the mid to low priced ones?

Yes. Not only in accuracy and versatility, but in reliability under
adverse conditions as well. I had an early (nameless) spotmeter,
boasting a silicon blue cell and variable 1 to 5 degree spot size that
was totally useless because flare was so great that the image was almost
lost under the wash of light.

There are four general types of meter; reflected-light meters covering
the total scene, from the old Weston Masters to TTL meters like Nikon's
1,005-segment in-camera meters; spot meters which measure the brightness
of a very small area of a subject; incident meters which measure the
light incident to (falling on) a subject; and flash meters which can
integrate and measure the very brief flash from electronic flash units.

Most of the high-end meters like Minolta and Sekonic can measure at
least three of these modes with the one meter - spot, incident, and
flash. Further, meters like the Sekonic L-558 can measure and store up
to nine spot readings of a subject, display the readings on a graph-like
scale, and calculate the correct exposure to cover the measured spot
brightnesses.

Without going into the details, the exposure information provided by
these meters is very useful for photographers who do the highest quality
work, specially with medium or large-format cameras. One can't say
these meters are essential, since many photogs will say that experience
allows them to set exposure without such aids, but I prefer to be sure
rather than sorry, although I no longer use MF or LF cameras. But, I
still use the hand-held incident/spotmeter with my Canon digital for
landscape and similar shots, particularly for unusual or backlit scenes.

Colin
Anonymous
May 24, 2005 6:32:04 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

Backbone wrote:
>
> > My personal favorite is a Sekonic 803BII, compact reflective, incident
>
> don't freak me out i.e. no such thing as a Sekonic 803BII - well, I never heard
> of such a thing!

He meant a Sekonic L-308 BII

Colin
May 24, 2005 6:32:05 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

On Tue, 24 May 2005 14:32:04 +1200, Colin D
<ColinD@killspam.127.0.0.1> wrote:

>
>
>Backbone wrote:
>>
>> > My personal favorite is a Sekonic 803BII, compact reflective, incident
>>
>> don't freak me out i.e. no such thing as a Sekonic 803BII - well, I never heard
>> of such a thing!
>
>He meant a Sekonic L-308 BII
>
>Colin

Colin,

Thank you for clearing that up.

Roger
May 25, 2005 3:00:38 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

On Tue, 24 May 2005 16:44:19 +0100, "eatmorepies"
<jan9mung9mun9day@lineone.net> wrote:

>Why not just bracket the exposure? It's cost free with the digital camera.
>
>John

Bracketing is a perfectly valid way of "nailing" exposure. There are
some venues where the photographer is trying to work more
unobtrusively and a handheld meter is a bit more convenient for
mapping out light levels before an event occurs. Lighting for stage
productions, weddings, etc. come to mind. You can still bracket if the
venue allows, and with some cameras the bracketing itself is just a
burst, with others it's a more involved process for the photographer
and it's likely to miss the "action" (e.g. leaping dancer).

I find a hand held incident light meter convenient to use, even with
my digital P&S. I could probably live without one, but I really got
hooked on incident light meter evaluations when photographing with a
35mm camera that did not have a meter. When using negative film, it
wasn't nearly so essential as when shooting with transparencies (at
least for my skill level).

Regards,
Roger
Anonymous
May 25, 2005 6:03:51 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

"Russell" <nospam@nospam.com> wrote:
>
>Why does the price of light meters vary so much?
>
>Do the more expensive ones really do much more (that you actually need it to
>do) that the mid to low priced ones?


As with most photo gear, you pay more to get a better feature set,
better performance and a more rugged construction.

A better feature set might include one or all of: incident metering,
spot metering, flash metering and analysis of the contrast of a scene.

Better performance will probably mean more accuracy - the best meters
have a precision of 1/10 stop as against 1/3 stop of cheaper meters.

Finally, the most expensive meters are designed for professional use
and they are rugged enough to withstand rough handling yet still
deliver accurate performance - for years.

As with any photo gear, you should start out with something fairly
inexpensive. Only trade up when you find that the limitations of your
gear prevent you from doing what you want with your photography.
Anonymous
May 25, 2005 7:45:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital,rec.photo.equipment.35mm (More info?)

eatmorepies wrote:
>
> >
> > Without going into the details, the exposure information provided by
> > these meters is very useful for photographers who do the highest quality
> > work, specially with medium or large-format cameras. One can't say
> > these meters are essential, since many photogs will say that experience
> > allows them to set exposure without such aids, but I prefer to be sure
> > rather than sorry, although I no longer use MF or LF cameras. But, I
> > still use the hand-held incident/spotmeter with my Canon digital for
> > landscape and similar shots, particularly for unusual or backlit scenes.
> >
>
> Why not just bracket the exposure? It's cost free with the digital camera.
>
> John

Right, perhaps it's force of habit, but I like playing with expensive
toys, and measuring exposure and hitting the bullseye in one is more
satisfying than the shotgun approach of bracketing. I have been known to
bracket though, with a film slr when testing the camera with a
particular film - but there I'm really testing the film/camera fit.

Colin
!